What is Montessori?
An educational programme developed by Maria Montessori is based on knowing and respecting a child and his needs. A key concept of this method is „the prepared environment“ in which children choose from a range of attractive Montessori aids and materials on their own. A teacher plays mainly a role of an advisor and helper who carefully observes the children in order to find the moment when the child is ready to accept some new knowledge. Montessori classes are of mixed ages, usually there are three age groups.
There are no traditional tests in Montessori schools, children are given the opportunity to master new knowledge or skills through practising and repeating, and thus to proceed to more complicated work or task. A teacher makes evaluations on the basis of his observations, long-term records and reports on the development of the child.
The teaching method of Montessori is based on the results of long-term surveys of child development. It has been proclaimed, and not only by foremost American educators, as the most suitable teaching model for pre-school and school age children in terms of their development. The Montessori pedagogic and educational method is based on the realistic learning of cognitive, emotional and sensory development of a child.
According to this method, this way of teaching enables each child to find his most suitable form and speed of learning. The main efforts of teachers lie in developing children as self-confident and inquisitive beings in an environment of self-independency and mutual respect.
The main stress is put on personal-oriented teaching. Children can choose from a variety of interesting and well-prepared tasks and activities. An unhealthy rivalry among children is removed, children are purposefully guided to be tolerant. Each child proceeds at his own speed, thanks to which he does not experience any stress caused by the lack of time. The most talented children can proceed faster without stressing those who need more time for repeating and practising some schoolwork.
An Italian doctor who devoted her life to upbringing and the education of children. Her longterm observations and own practice gave her an interesting finding. If we provide to children an inspiring, peaceful environment and suitable aids, they are capable of self-development and of mastering the required knowledge and learning without any directive guidance of adults.
She verified her own method in practice in 1907 for the first time when she founded the first Children‘s House. It was an exceptional success. She gradually gave up all her other activities and devoted her time solely to the development of her own educational method which became highly respected and used all over the world.